Nothing has evolved more in online marketing than the way we identify and target users. Just a few years ago, segmentation of publishers into categories or channels was still cutting edge. The “cast-a-wide net and pare down” mantra of the display networks thankfully progressed into one of the first truly effective forms of targeting — contextual relevance — where ad servers began to recognize text on a page and serve “relevant” ads to the user.
But it took remarketing for display to become relevant for direct response advertising. Unlike its predecessors, remarketing doesn’t take much work to prove efficacy. It’s logical and simple: you build a list of users who have executed actions indicating purchase intent, and you show them ads for the products or services almost purchased.
The only nuance is the need to prove the incremental value of those ads through A/B testing against a PSA (public service announcement) as the user clearly showed intent to purchase and may have gone ahead and purchased anyway with a little latency.
Where it really starts to get interesting is looking at the root technology behind remarketing and extrapolating other opportunities. By flexing our analytics muscles, we can take remarketing to the next level by finding latent connections between events, then leveraging advertising to expedite the timeframe and influence brand association for those events. It’s not remarketing — it’s Premarketing™.
Take a minute to think about what your customer is doing prior to the thought of purchasing your product or services. Maybe you offer online background checks and should be getting in front of parents looking for a babysitter, people looking to hire a plumber, or someone entering the dating pool. Or maybe you sell dog treats and should be targeting people trolling for their perfect pup to adopt.
Think about the power of strategic brand influence. Power brands like Coke, McDonalds, and BMW have been doing this for years — planting the seed of desire and keeping their brands top-of-mind, regardless of where the viewer is in the purchase cycle.
You probably don’t have the advertising budgets of those brands, so you’ve got to be smarter and more strategic.
Take the background check scenario I mentioned before:
In this example, our dater, Bob, may or may not have a preferred background check provider. If one of the players in the space was able to identify Bob’s situation and drip ads on him, he’d be much more likely to think of them when put in a situation to use their service. Otherwise, the service providers leave it up to chance as to which one Bob opts to use.
Let’s take another example which may be more relevant to you — someone who is shopping for a laptop is most likely going to need a laptop bag or case. Brands like Cocoon, Speck, Timbuk2, and Incase should be building lists of people looking at laptops and peppering those users with ads for accessories so that when they buy the computer, they have an accessory brand top-of-mind to add to cart.
The idea of advertising to system attachment is subtle but incredibly powerful, effective and relatively inexpensive if done well. It’s about strategically building that custom audience of one, identifying thousands of identical users, and influencing their opinions prior to the decision being top-of-mind. Execution may be simple, but setup is nuanced.
You can’t wait for your customer to come to you. If you have a good idea of where your customer is before they get to you, then why not proactively premarket to them, get top-of-mind and expedite the acquisition process? If you are open to the right partnerships, you don’t need a massive budget to influence your brand perception. You might just find there’s a new way to think about your customer profile.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.